Skull Session: Michigan “Built Their Team to Beat Ohio State,” Tough Games On the Horizon, and the New Scheduling Alliance

By Kevin Harrish on September 20, 2021 at 5:59 am
Brutus has a lawn mower for some reason in today's skull session.

When I think I did a good job cleaning the house but my wife asks why there's still dust on the cabinet...

Word of the Day: Contrite.

 BUILT TO BEAT OHIO STATE. A tale old as time – folks in September pretending that *this* is the year Michigan finally threatens or even beats Ohio State.

This time, though, it wasn't a Michigan Man or a @FreezingColdTakes material from a media member; it was Northern Illinois head coach Thomas Hammock.

"What I see, they built their team to beat Ohio State,” Hammock shared. 

“You’re not going to out-athlete Ohio State and so they said, ‘We’re going to get dirty.’ And you know what? Credit to them because they stay committed to that. They have a good team.”

One player with an intimate knowledge of the Wolverines was former Spartan quarterback Rocky Lombardi, who led the Spartans to a victory over the Wolverines in 2020 before deciding to enter the transfer portal, and ultimately landed at NIU.

Lombardi had the following to share on the new-look Wolverines on the other side of the ball.

“They run a completely different scheme. They looked better on film than they did last year. The scheme helps them out. They’re much softer now in coverage. They don’t like to give up many deep shots."

To be fair, any team with some semblance of an offensive would look "built to beat Ohio State" right now. Michigan ain't special.

But also – and I cannot emphasize this enough – it's September.

Ohio State has time to figure out how to stop an offense that seems entirely predicated on refusing to throw the ball (but not in a cool way like Navy), and Michigan has plenty of time to crash and burn as soon as it faces an opponent with a pulse, like it always does.

Remember, the worst Buckeye football team in like 100 years was a missed deep ball to DeVier Posey from winning in the Big House. And the last time Michigan looked "built to beat Ohio State" when the Buckeyes had the worst defense in program history, the final score was 62-39.

All that to say, miss me with this "Michigan is very scary!" bit in September. I will not fear Michigan until there is reason to fear Michigan. And that just hasn't been the case for the past three decades.

 THE ROAD AHEAD. I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is, Ohio State's going to have plenty of chances to add some quality wins to its resume. The bad news is, that also means the Buckeyes still have to play multiple ranked teams down the stretch, which is borderline terrifying given what we've all watched.

You can probably go ahead and throw No. 5 Iowa into that mix too, but at this point, it feels it's significantly more likely Iowa wins the Big Ten West than Ohio State wins the Big Ten East.

But if the Buckeyes are going to make the College Football Playoff, they're going to have to play in Indy.

But, again...

 'M IN. I've had no idea what to feel about this new ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 "alliance," mostly because it's just seemed so nebulous and hypothetical.

But I have to say, the Pac-12 commissioner has me sold.

That last part has me sold.

The global pandemic certainly was not very good at all, but one positive is that it taught us we don't *actually* have to schedule games 10 years in advance. I mean, BYU and Coastal Carolina managed to get a game together in a couple of weeks when they realized they were both going to be undefeated at the end of the season.

I'm not saying we need to do that, but there's no reason we can't have a situation like the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in basketball where teams are matched up based on how they finish last year.

If this somehow leads to an almost annual matchup with Clemson and/or USC, it's not an understatement to say that my quality of life will have significantly improved.

 LET'S GET SOME POSITIVITY IN HERE. When the Buckeye are struggling, there sure ain't a lot of positive, optimistic things happening on my neck of the Internet. But I can always count on Gee Scott Sr. for some light.

Dude is recklessly positive, and I love it.

If I could have someone follow me around to help get me through every day (which really just means sitting next to me on the couch), I think he might be near the top of the list of candidates. 

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Maybe" by Janis Joplin.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A man is shocked after a raid on his old luxury yacht finds $280 million worth of cocaine... Revisiting the Attica prison riot in real time 50 years later... The scientist and the AI-assisted remote-control killing machine... The YouTubers determined to find lost media... The University of Florida gets about a $20 million cut of Gatorade profits every year... Your car knows too much about you...

View 146 Comments